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Album Review: 'Dada People'


Dave Douglas and Frank Woeste

"Dada People"

Greenleaf Music

Known as Man Ray, the 1920's-era Parisian Dadaist and Surrealist artist was actually a South Philadelphia-born Jewish man named Emmanuel Radnitzky. His enigmatic identity, along with the art work and movements he spearheaded, have inspired work in a totally different genre that was also taking off in the 1920's: jazz. "Dada People," by New York trumpeter Dave Douglas and Parisian pianist Frank Woeste, with support from bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Clarence Penn, paints a vivid aural picture of the artistic revolution of a century ago.

At times, the music is evocative of period composer Erik Satie (like on the track "Oedipe"); sometimes it attempts to capture the spirit of the place where much of the action occurred, as in the lyrical "Montparnasse." There are also tunes like "Art of Reinvention" that conjure up both Ray's life and work. But perhaps the most salient relation to early 20th century avant-garde movements can be found in Douglas and Woeste's tempo-shifting and endlessly experimental compositions.